In the next couple of months many of my friends will be graduating from university. I have to be honest, I am jealous of all their celebrations because, if I’d chosen a different path three years ago, I would have been graduating too.
After leaving sixth form I decided university wasn’t going to be right for me and, so far, it’s not a decision I’ve regretted. There’s a whole lot of reasons as to why I decided this but really it came down to the feeling that it was the best thing to do. While I enjoyed sixth form, I found a great group of friends and did okay in my subjects, I really struggled with anxiety. While I probably had anxiety throughout school I think it was probably the pressure of getting grades and being around lots of people all the time that really made it worse at sixth form. I didn’t feel like I could comfortably start all over again in university where I didn’t know anyone and had to start a whole new subject. I considered just staying at home but still studying, rather than moving away, but I still decided it was best to decline my offers and find a job instead.
I also wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to study. I changed between English Literature and Geography when I was applying for uni, both subjects I loved but not ones I could see myself studying full time. Plus, I had no idea what job I’d want at the end of it and I felt uni is too expensive to be uncertain about. I now work in science and I love it, but it was never a subject I’d thought about doing.
Although it was difficult at first when my friends moved away I soon got used to that and now I’m so busy working full time socialising can be a struggle anyway. I do sometimes wonder what it would have been like if I had moved away to uni; maybe I would have had an amazing experience and found some lifelong friends but I also worry it would have turned out badly too. I also wouldn’t have what I’ve got now; I work full time in a job I like with opportunities to move up, I have a boyfriend and we’re saving to buy a house, I’ve been able to afford my own car and holidays. The break from education has also helped me get over my anxiety and I’ve found so much confidence by working.
I would definitely never rule out doing a degree if I knew exactly what it was for and if it would help in my career. There’s loads of other options than university that I would encourage everyone to consider before making the choice about uni. Of course, uni is perfect for some people and if you’re set on going then I would never discourage it! But also, never feel pressured to go to university whether it’s your teachers, parents, or because all your friends are going, there’s other options out there!
Not Going to Uni is a great website that helps you explore all your options!